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Coding is increasingly becoming a crucial element of a child’s education. Parents understandably are looking for different ways to help kids develop coding skills at home. Coding apps for kids is just one of many available resources along with coding games for kids.

With increased demand from parent, I’ve seen a surge in coding apps for kids. The apps serve to introduce kids to coding fundamentals. Some of these apps are designed for children as young as three! Many of the popular apps focus on introducing children to the logic of coding. However, some apps will focus on specific languages. Regardless of the app used many teach the same fundamentals. Children learn about loops, “if-then” statements, variables, and conditionals. Keeping a young child’s attention is no easy task. Most of these apps use fun characters and a story to keep kids engaged.

Apps are an amazing resource for learning. For starters, they can be used wherever you go so long as your phone or tablet is present. This convenience is very much appreciated on longer car rides. Personally, I prefer handing over a tablet knowing it will be used for educational purposes and not mindless YouTube videos.

There are numerous coding apps for kids on the market. This article is designed to help dads select the best app for their kids. The apps are broken into categories for elementary, middle, and high school so you are sure to find something for everyone in the family.

Coding Apps for Kids

Elementary School

Code Karts

First up we have Code Karts. Available on Android and iOS with the appealing price of $0 (some in-app purchases can be made) this is a great starter app for a young learner. Your child will use drag-and-drop code to navigate a race car around a track. No prior coding skills are required and children that cannot yet read won’t be at a disadvantage. Kids will master the first 10 levels, all free, by matching colors. Spend just $1.99 and you will get 70+ additional levels with increased difficulty.

No racing game is complete with out a bit of competition. Players can race other cars around the track to test their coding speed.

Kodable

Kodable introduces your child to a friendly family of aliens that have crash-landed on a new planet. This new world is covered in mazes and it’s the player’s job to help the aliens explore the land. Kids use drag-and-drop blocks to guide the aliens on their journey.

With Kodable kids will develop logic and critical thinking skills. They are also introduced to JavaScript and Swift, actual programming languages used by professionals.

Kodable is currently on iOS and does require a subscription. The lifetime subscription is $120 and includes up to four player profiles. You can also select monthly billing at $6.99/month.

SpriteBox

Playing games with your children is one of the best parts of being a dad. If you and your kids enjoy Mario then you will love learning with SpriteBox! This 2D adventure game is similar in style to Mario, but teaches kids how to code. They start with simple drag-and-drop tasks and work up to learning proper syntax. Completing the adventure is achievable for young learners with some curveballs that might even stump dad!

Middle School

Sphero Edu

Using the Sphero Edu app (iOS and Android) kids can control one of multiple Sphero robots. A personal favorite is the mini R2-D2 and BB-8 from Star Wars. The robots are durable, waterproof, and great for kids in middle school. If you have younger children around you will need to be sure small pieces, such as balls and capsules used in the robot, don’t become snacks.

Sphero provides a bit of something for everybody with levels for different coding abilities. Kids can decide to start with drawing paths and using drag-and-drop blocks and eventually get into writing text-based code.

While fun and engaging, Sphero does require some financial commitment. The app is free but you will need to pop for the robots. If you’re a DIY-er this is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to the maker movement and learn coding at the same time!

Hopscotch

Hopscotch is great because it isn’t limited to just coding practice. Kids can develop multiple other STEM skills and pick up some artistic skills as well. This is really an app that a child can use for a long time to learn and develop new skills. Your kids will have the chance to control and command the actions of numerous characters including designs and illustrations.

It’s been said that sharing is caring. I agree and it’s also a great way to receive feedback and improve yourself. With Hopscotch kids will be able to share their creations, such as games, with an online community. They will enjoy the feedback from the community and have a confidence booster as they see their creation brining joy to others.

Hopscotch has a few drawbacks. For starters it’s only on iOS and does require a subscription of $7.99/month for advanced levels. The app is also more open-ended compared to others on the list. If your child is a creative type and likes to explore this is a great app for them! Kids that require a bit more structure might find the open-endedness a bit less exciting and possibly frustrating.

High School

Robozzle

Are your kids into logic puzzles? Do they enjoy some of the old school arcade games we enjoyed as kids, such as Pac-Man? If so then you’ve done a great job introducing them to classic games! Oh, and they should check out Robozzle. In this game kids will explore literally thousands of levels as they learn about conditionals.

Designed to foster out of the box thinking, Robozzle puzzles will require your kids to analyze different perspectives when solving a problem. I know this is an article on coding apps for kids, but parents might even find this one entertaining. The free version is great and you can make in-app purchases to get advanced features.

Codea

Codea is available on the iPad and is similar in style to Hopscotch. Users create interactive games and graphics using the Lua programming language. Using simple touch commands the user creates code from various menus. Adding your own sounds, images, and characters make the game that much more exciting.

The graphics are impressive, but the UI is a bit difficult. Be warned that younger children might quickly lose interest.


Kids can learn how to code with a ton of resources available online. Tutorials and videos are fun and engaging. Introducing apps to their learning will help teach new skills while reinforcing those already developed. With how much time kids spend on devices these days encouraging them to spend some of that time learning is a wise move. Some of these games, such as Robozzle, will provide enough entertainment that kids won’t view it as traditional learning.

Drop a note in the comments below if you feel I’ve missed an amazing app for this list.

As someone who writes code for a living I can say it is sometimes the best job in the world. Sometimes it isn’t, but I’m pretty sure everyone can make a similar claim. I’ve always been excited to share the things I enjoy with my kids. Heck, even my children’s friends have learned a thing or two. While coding is exciting it can be frustrating jumping in with no prior knowledge. To reduce the risk of children quickly losing interest I’m a fan of using coding games for kids to keep things interesting.

Turning coding into a game, something fun and exciting, will help capture a child’s attention. I dare say they might not even know they are learning!

Regardless of why you want to teach your child how to code, these games can make the learning experience fun for both of you. If you aren’t familiar with coding this could be a great opportunity to pick up a new skill and watch your child learn.

Now, let’s look at some of the best coding games for kids.

Coding Games For Kids

Preschool

You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but a young mind can learn anything. Children, even preschoolers, can benefit from being introduced to coding concepts.

LittleCodr is a card game (bet you weren’t expecting that) designed for young learners. It’s a simple game that is interactive, engaging and doesn’t require staring at a screen. If you like playing games as a family you need LittleCodr. Kids get to use action cards (turn right) to get parents and siblings to do silly movements.

Kids get a laugh, but they also learn about linear thinking and executing actions in sequence.

For the nerdy music-loving dads this one is for you. Well, your kids but you can play along as well. Osmo Coding Jam combines music with coding skill development. Kids, and dads, use coding blocks to create music. You will need the iOS app to accompany the game blocks. Players will move the blocks around the board to change the music. Not only will children develop problem-solving skills, but they will also learn about melody and rhythm.

Kindergarten

ScratchJr is the younger sibling of Scratch, a programming language used by millions around the world. The Jr. version allows younger learners a chance to get their feet wet with programming. Kids will move a character around, make them dance, and much more by using the programming blocks.

As kids start to program their own games they will be introduced to new concepts. ScratchJr introduces coding concepts as well as math and language. Available for iOS, Android, Chromebook, and Kindle Fire, and the best part, it’s free!

Move the Turtle is a game available on iPhones and iPads. Kids will be introduced to the basics of designing and building computer programs. A cool little turtle is your champion throughout the game. As you and your child complete tasks the turtle will move around on the screen. This game introduces some more advanced concepts such as planning complex operations using simple commands. Children will also gain experience with loops, variables, and conditionals. Finally, your child will get to play around with using sound and graphics in the game. It’s a ton of fun and is used by schools around the world.

Elementary School

As we climb the grade levels we’ll start to encounter some games you may already be familiar with. You may be a bit surprised to learn that games can be a great tool to teach kids about technology and coding.

First up is Minecraft.

With 100+ million users you’ve most likely heard of the game. This is an extremely popular game for kids. While it looks like it’s mostly about making stuff out of blocks it also has some important lessons. Most notable is the logical thinking that is required. Problem-solving and thinking outside the box are also important to be successful in Minecraft. All these skills are necessary when programming. So while your kid isn’t technically writing lines of Python, they are learning coding fundamentals.

CodeMonkey is a fun online game that started out as a program for teachers to use in the classroom. It’s now available for use at home, though it does require a monthly subscription ($4.95 – $9.95). What’s super helpful about CodeMonkey is that you have a progress tracker to see how your child is learning over time. Kids have access to courses for K-8 with block-based and text-based coding practice.

Middle School

In Swift Playground (iOS only) kids will guide a character through a 3D world. This game introduces kids to Swift, a language created by Apple and used by professionals to create mobile apps. Users can interact by incorporating their own pictures, sounds and files into their creation. Kids can also share the games they develop with friends.

Looking for an exciting game that has been introduced in 100+ countries? Give LightBot a try. Players will guide a cool little robot through various levels trying to light up tiles. Topics introduced include sequencing, overloading, conditionals, recursive loops, and procedures. Available on iOS and Android this is a game that kids won’t be able to put down. For once, you might not be too upset when they are playing a game.


Thus concludes our quick list of coding games for kids. As you can see, numerous games exist that introduce many core coding concepts. You can find games for very young learners and get them started early. Coding is a great skill and those who can master the required skills will have tons of opportunities in the future.

Happy coding!